Microsoft has been on a spree of studio acquisitions, bringing multiple high-profile studios under its first-party umbrella. A new rumor popped up saying that the company had been in talks to acquire Bungie but the price was too high. Bungie CEO Pete Parsons shot down these rumors, saying very curtly “This is false,” to a tweet regarding the rumor.
This is false.
— pete parsons (@pparsons) September 14, 2020
The rumor first kicked up with a comment from VentureBeat’s Jeff Grubb on the GamesBeat podcast. Grubb said he’d heard from sources that Microsoft and Bungie had entered talks of acquisition, but it ultimately fell apart because they had not been able to agree on a price. Eurogamer corroborated Grubb’s comments, saying that their own independent sources had also mentioned these talks, “driven on Bungie’s side by a desire to raise new funds for the studio, its projects and staff.”
Bungie landing under the umbrella of a major publisher again would be a bit antithetical to its history, where it famously cut ties with Microsoft a decade ago, and then again stepped away from Activision in January of 2019. Bungie’s goal is to be an independent developer and publisher of games. While it accepted something of a boost through the $100 million investment from Chinese publisher NetEase, that was a minority-stake investment to give the developer expanded reach through a partnership, not an acquisition. Bungie still retains autonomy as an independent entity with full ownership of its IPs under that agreement.
Parsons doesn’t get involved with rumors like this on Twitter a lot, so his comment here saying the Microsoft Bungie acquisition rumors are false really stands out. The rumors could have kicked up thanks to the Bungie Microsoft deal that puts Destiny 2 on GamePass. It’s not an acquisition, but this agreement nets an enormous win for both Bungie and Microsoft, giving Destiny 2 a larger audience and putting a massive ongoing service game in Microsoft’s proverbial GamePass cap, but it’s far from an acquisition. Obviously talks between the two companies would have had to happen to get this deal squared away, so Grubb and Eurogamer’s sources may have misconstrued these meetings as “acquisition talks.”
Grubb stepped up to further explain that the comments he made aren’t exactly newsworthy. Sure, there may have been some interest in the possibility batted around on Microsoft’s side, but to say these resulted in “acquisition talks” makes this whole thing out to be a much bigger deal than it actually is.
Like, that’s why Imran and I bring it up on a podcast but I didn’t write it in a story. It’s not like developers have a price tag hanging off their ears. In business, you have to reach out and ask for a price, and that just might not turn into anything more.
— Jeff Grubb (@JeffGrubb) September 14, 2020
Bungie’s community honcho David “DeeJ” Dague further stuck a fork in the rumor with a playful jab, requesting “when circulating gossip about our company, please use our current logo.”
And, when circulating gossip about our company, please use our current logo. Thanks in advance. pic.twitter.com/0YjBSwG4N5
— DeeJ (@DeeJ_BNG) September 14, 2020
If you’re going to spread second and third-hand conjecture about rumored behind-closed-door meetings, at least follow the style-guide to do it.
Destiny 2: Beyond Light releases on November 10th.